2010 May Fairs

The Courant’s Feature on the Fair, 2010

The Hexham Courant sent its local reporter Rebecca Dixon along to try to capture some of the excitement of the fair. From the blurb, it’s clear she did manage to chat with a few folks, including Stephanie Thompson from Durham on the karaoke heat and Simon Morton from Haltwhistle on the Strongest Man competition.

Additionally, she got a quote from Robbie Loraine from Wickham who won the children’s race, and Raymond Jaffrey from Hawick who took gold in the 8km Fun Run. So she reported well, but what must have been Sheila Baynes’ additions to the longest T-shirt went unremarked, though the photographer caught Cordelia Harrison in the newer yellow section. I don’t think the Guinness invigilator ever agreed that the T-shirt really was the longest contiguously occupied, but it was certainly fun to have been a part of it.

The image most of us will chuckle over, though, as we think back to that May Fair (held, as bemused as residents were, in the first weekend of June), has to be that of Nigel Baynes struggling with his aplomb (never really a challenge, that!) as he announced the fair events and marshalled the dancers from his wheelchair with his broken ankle on display for all to marvel at.

I was there, back from a school run to see Nigel on the ground, his face white, while he was being kept warm while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. How he missed more serious damage with the chainsaw he’d been brandishing, nobody ever figured out.

That was, however, the beginning of a long odyssey of recovery which eventually got him back into the ranks of Allendale’s Retained Fire Fighting Service. As I recall, the worst of that recovery was the enforced cessation of his smoking habit, about which in any event he was rather circumspect.

Anyway, as with all things in Allendale, the show must go on, and go on it did.

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